A Feast Fit for a Monkey King
Sometimes monkeys dine better than humans. At least, that’s what happens once a year in Lopburi, central Thailand.
Ever since the late 1980s, the citizens of Lopburi have been earning merit Buddhist-style by putting on a huge feast for their monkey inhabitants. Of course, word has gotten around about the antics of some of the crazier monkeys at the feast, resulting in an influx of photo-taking tourists, so the festival helps fatten up the wallets of citizens as well.
Thailand is predominantly Buddhist but assimilated lots of Hindu traditions from the Hindus who inhabited the area pre-Buddhist. In particular, they fell in love with the Hindu monkey god Hanuman because he helped Rama rescue his wife Sita from an evil demon king.
As a result, Thais in Lopburi have taken their love of monkeys to a high level by honoring them with a banquet every year at the ruins of Phra Prang Sam Yot, an 800-year-old Hindu temple.
The feast in 2016 occurred on 27 November, and as usual, tourists arrived en masse to take photo after photo of the hungry macaques who made a mess while eating a pile of fruit.
With this kind of treatment, the monkeys in Lopburi are totally unafraid of humans and often surprise people by jumping on each other and even on unwary people.
If you visit Lopburi during the festival, be sure to leave your valuables in your hotel room or you might be robbed by one of the crazy macaques.